August 28, 2018
Kennewick First Presbyterian Church
2001 W. Kennewick Avenue
Kennewick, WA 99336
(509) 582-9537
kfpc.org
God Beyond Language

Psalm 103:13 “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”

Isaiah 66:12-13 “For this is what the Lord says… As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.’”

How do we begin to speak about God? God, who created the heavens and the earth, who knit us together in our mother’s womb, who is far beyond our understanding or comprehension, desires to be in relationship with us, and yet, our language limits our ability to even begin to describe the unfathomable mystery of who God is. Traditionally, male pronouns have been used in reference to God. The Old Testament uses mainly male pronouns or the term “Lord” for God. But God’s attributes and behavior are described in both male and female examples. Psalm 103 compares God to a “father who has compassion on his children.” Isaiah 66 reports God saying, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” The behavior and work of God is far beyond our scope of “male” and “female”, but we live within a limit of language.

In Genesis 1:27 we read, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This verse is proclaiming that both male and female are created in the image of God, because God is beyond gender and sexuality. The New Testament uses different imagery for the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is seen as a “dove” descending on Jesus at his baptism. The tongues of fire in Acts 2 which descend upon the disciples are a representation of the power of the Holy Spirit which rests on each of them. The Greek and Hebrew words typically associated with spirit, wind, and fire, “pneuma” and “ruah” are both “feminine” nouns. So how do we even begin to speak about God? It is not un-Biblical to refer to God in feminine pronouns. It is not our traditional practice to do so however, and so if you are not accustomed to the practice, it can be jarring. 

In my preaching, I attempt to avoid personal pronouns when referring to God. If I am speaking about Jesus, then a masculine pronoun is appropriate, for obvious reasons. The reason for avoiding personal pronouns is that God is far beyond our understanding of male and female and encompasses both genders as being made in the “imago dei” - image of God. For someone who has been traumatized by the men in his or her life, referring to God as “he” can be a painful reminder. It can also create an opportunity for that Heavenly Father to redeem and restore the image that a human father has destroyed. When speaking about God, we do so with fear and trepidation. Who am I to presume to know anything about God? When Job hears directly from God, his response is this: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted… Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know… My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” -Job 42:1-6

This side of heaven, we can never fully comprehend the power, majesty, and mystery of God; but that should not keep us from sharing how we experience God in our lives. So keep on speaking about God, even with the language limitations and ever-evolving relationship we have with God. Continue to tell the story of how you experience God and how you walk faithfully with Jesus Christ. Continue to share with others the power of the Holy Spirit you see at work around you. 

Gracious God, thank you for your loving relationship with us. Thank you that you have compassion on us like a loving Father. Thank you that you comfort us like a Heavenly Mother. Give us words to share your love with others. Give us courage to be bold in our witness of you. Amen.

~Pastor Hanna Peterson Shearer

Sunday, September 2, 2018

9:00 am - Contempory Worship
11:00 am - Classic Worship

Sermon: "Christ is in the Boat"
Preaching: Bob Merriman, CLP
 For recordings of past sermons, please visit KFPC Past Sermons
To watch live sermons, please visit KFPC Stream
Fall Worship Hours
Our new fall worship schedule begins September 9. Contemporary Worship Worship at 8:30 am, Education Hour at 9:45 am, and Classic Worship at 11 am.
Chancel Choir is resuming rehearsals on
Wednesday, August 29 at 7 pm.

We would like to invite more people to join the choir including high school students! Contact Kitty Baird and/or Steve Canaday if you are interested!
"God Bless the Broken Road"
Join us for a private screening of the new film, “God Bless the Broken Road” at Kennewick AMC theater on Wednesday, September 5 , at 7 pm. Please contact the church office if you are interested in attending. We hope to have 100 people from our church see this incredible film together.

(The poster says September 7 but we are able to see the movie a couple days earlier! Please join us on September 5.)
THURSDAY BIBLE STUDY
Starts again on September 6, 2018
10 am - Library
Facilitated by Pastor Hanna
Adult Sunday School Classes
September 9 - October 28, 2018
9:45 am
Growing Young (Pastor Hanna & Stephen Jansons) - Library
The History of the Making of King James Bible (Sylvia Harris) Rm 109
Inviting all Women!
Our next meeting is Sept.10, 2018,(second Monday of each month) at 6:30 pm in the Fireside Room. There will be soup, salad and bread, and of course, FELLOWSHIP. We are studying, “ When God Doesn’t Fix it – Learning to Walk in God’s Plans instead of our Own” ,by Laura Story. Books are available in the church office. Any questions call, Bonnie Wilson, (c) 509.948.7302.
7-WEEK WOMEN'S BIBLE STUDY
"Gideon - Your weakness. God's STRENGTH", by Priscilla Shirer

Begins September 12
9 - 11 am
Room 109
$20.00

Questions: Call Shirley Telligman
509-545-8892

KENNEWICK COMMUNITY BLOOD DRIVE
Our next Kennewick Community Blood Drive is Thursday, Sept. 13 from noon to 5:00 p.m. in the First Pres Center. You can schedule an appointment to donate blood by calling 1-800-733-2767; register on-line at redcrossblood.org; or walk-ins are always welcome. As always, we can use donations of cookies and desserts, along with fixings for our baked potato bar for our donors. Please sign up at the Information Table. Thanks!  
HOMEBOUND COMMUNION TRAINING

Are you an ordained elder or deacon in the PCUSA who would like to make a difference in the lives of our homebound members? Consider being trained to be a homebound communion server! A training session will be held on Thursday, Sept 13 at 7 pm in the Conference Room and again on Sunday, Sept 16 at 9:45 am in the Fireside Room. You only need to attend one session. Contact Pastor Ashley to sign up to attend. 
Habitat for Humanity Work Day Sept 15

Still interested in serving Habitat for Humanity on Sept 15? It's not too late to sign up! Just pick up a volunteer application on the information island or download at http://habitatbuilds.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Volunteer-Application_10172017_Revised.pdf , and return to Pastor Ashley. For more information, contact Pastor Ashley or Mission Elder Michael Kintner-Meyer.
SMALL GROUPS: Interested in joining a small group this fall? Pick up a small group interest form on the Information Table and return to Pastor Ashley by September 16. Information included on the form can also be emailed to ashley.birk@kfpc.org
Several volunteers are needed to help our programs. Follow the link to see where you may be able to fit in.
Please email your articles for the newsletter to debra.bilodeau@kfpc.org. Please specify the date(s) you would like it to run. Thank you, Debbie